Posts from November 2010

kitchen sneak peek

We are not done with the kitchen yet, but we are getting close. Close enough for a few sneak peeks.

One (of the two) open shelves that flank the range hood is done and installed. Kyle made the box out of fir veneer plywood (with a fir edge band to cover the exposed plys) and we cut a piece from a leftover IKEA Abstrakt cover panel for the back face. I love the contrast of the blue-gray with our white dishes. The steel ledge you’ve seen before – it extends from the range hood all the way into the dining room where it becomes a picture rail. We used a thin strip of fir wood to cover the exposed fasteners.

I’m really pleased with how the “spice rack” project turned out. Here’s a peek because it isn’t quite finished yet.


The fir plywood cabinet wrap is up! Really, I think the world would be a better place if everything was wrapped in vertical grain fir. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way. Because our kitchen is just one element within a larger space, we wanted to do something that would provide more definition. The wood wrap helps create a cohesive composition – a cabinet of cabinets if you will.  It also solves the issue of awkward upper cabinets that don’t go all the way to the ceiling.

The fir will turn more orange over time, but the blue-gray, orange and white are really working for us. I hope we never get tired of this color palette, because it’s pretty much our whole house.

We also finished the island custom shelving. The back face of the island is covered with fir plywood, which extends out to accept the microwave/dog bowl unit. Yes, the microwave is no longer on the counter! LIFE SUCCESS! (Installing toe kicks – fail.)

The small space to the left of the microwave will feature cookbooks du jour (for now, it’s my Ina Garten collection). The remaining cookbooks go in the stair cabinet.

Dinner time! Bailey is more or less indifferent to his new set-up. Spoiled dog. 

I didn’t want to bombard you with photos, so I have another post planned that is less eye candy, more process photos. Actually, it’s Poker Night and Kyle is hosting so I’ve escaped to a local coffee shop. I’m feeling very urban, and slightly self-conscious because I have the biggest laptop here (and not in a good way). I’ve got two hours of free wi-fi and a double latte – LET’S BLOG!

displaying books

Now that our house is getting close to how we want it, we’re giving more careful consideration to the things we put back in the space. Books are an especially tricky subject for us. In general, I love the look of books in people’s homes – not just as decor, but because they typically are a window into the personalities of the people who live there. Kyle likes the more minimal look, not wanting to intimidate people by our awesome literary collection (yes, that’s Harry Potter in the middle top row).


A few weeks ago, I moved most of our books (we still have a good deal of reference books and text books that will stay in the basement) back upstairs and very loosely arranged them on the new stair cabinet shelves. Even though we’ll be putting doors over these cabinets, it’s still feeling a little cluttered for me. Do we really need all these books? We’re definitely the type to have books more for their importance rather than because we’ll re-read them over and over (in fact, I’m sure there are many that haven’t been read at all). Architecture books definitely fall in this category and comprise about half of what we own (fortunately, we have greatly reduced this spendy habit).  But y’know…someday I will probably want to brush up on 14th century Italian architecture, right?

Plus, all these books are impinging on our plan to the turn the far right cabinet into a mini bar. The books to booze ratio is definitely off.

So what are your thoughts on displaying books in a small space? I wish we had more options but after demolishing most of our interior walls, the pickings are slim. Oh, and what do people do with photo albums nowadays? Ours stop circa 2003 but we still have a small stack of albums that chronicle our lives pre-digital age.

living room design

Progress on the living room is well underway, but this is the current state of our space.

I know, yawn.

In June, we picked your brains about audio systems and setups. Ultimately, we decided that because our house is so small we could get away with one pair of good quality tower speakers in the living room and nothing else. A few months later we found these beauties that you see above, on sale because of small imperfections that I have yet to find.  We also invested in an all-in-one sound system that is a fantastic solution for small spaces. Basically, it streams music from wherever you have it stored (ours is on our laptop now, but eventually we’ll move it to a dedicated external hard drive), it has internet radio (we’ve been listening to some Swiss and French stations lately), and a USB port for easy ipod/iphone access. Oh, and there’s an app for it too…meaning we can turn on NPR in the morning without actually having to get out of bed. I have to say, I’m really not an audiophile but I love this thing! And the system has plenty of oomph to rock the whole house. The only sad part is that it is living on our little IKEA side table that I have had for ten years (it was the first thing I ever ordered from IKEA). But keep reading, we have plans.

But first – we ordered our new couch and coffee table! They’re similar to what you see below (minus the floor to ceiling glass and scenic view), but the couch is a little different and the coffee table is white lacquer and gray glass instead of the walnut and gray glass. They’re from BoConcept and will be delivered in December via Denmark(!). This is our first time to order something from them, so we’ll report on how it goes (so far, so good).


I admit, I was resistant to the coffee table. It was more than I wanted to spend and I had been envisioning a piece of reclaimed wood on hairpin steel legs. But Kyle was in love. LOVE! He gave me the sad puppy dog eyes and everything. Needless to say, I caved.

I do love the colors (imagine white lacquer instead of the walnut) and the hidden storage. Remote controls, you are hereby banished!

This past week, Kyle’s been finalizing the design for the media unit. We’d been envisioning a low slung, fir plywood cabinet that would house the audio system. We’re also hoping to acquire a turntable in the near future. That’s right, we’re going low-tech/high-tech at chezerbey –  records and digital files but not a compact disc in sight. So here’s what we’re thinking – the size of the unit is bound by the speaker locations and window. The unit will be floating (i.e. – attached to the wall), with a recessed area for the record player (which will be mounted to the wall for optimal sound isolation qualities). And yes, the turntable is centered on the window mullion above. (I knew you’d notice.) The cubby to the left will have a series of notches for record storage (we have approximately 5 records now, but are planning for 75 or so).


Behind the sliding doors on the right, we’ll store all the less than stylish tech stuff (and more records). Even though I am still a strong supporter of not having the TV in our living room, it’s going to be a while before we do the media haven in the basement. We also played around with doing an L-shaped piece that came up the right side of the  cabinet and over the TV so you wouldn’t see the backside when you come in the front door. But it looked too fussy. Delete.

The cabinet box under the record player will serve as additional storage for even more tech stuff.

So, now we just have to build it!  

Sadly, the Artemide floor lamp that we have in the model is too big for the space (and really, too expensive). We’re going to stick with our IKEA version that we’ve had for years but is actually really well-designed. And then there’s the Eames LCW. It wants to live in our home, it really does. We’re going to wait until we have the rest of the pieces in place and then see what kind of space we have. Our living room layout is a little awkward in that the main circulation path clips off one corner, making it hard to layout furniture.

We’re also in the market for a rug (more to define the space and bring in some layers and texture). So dear Anthropologie, if you’re reading this, could you please add this rug in yellow back to your website? Thanks!

I know the space will evolve slowly over time, but we feel like we’re starting with some good solid pieces that will last a long time and be adaptable to different decorating whims. But for now, we’re minimalists.

progress report: week 31

Hi there, just wanted to pop in for a quick progress report. Also, if you’re clicking over from Door Sixteen, welcome! We’re thrilled to be on Anna’s “Featured Blogs” list for November. After a rough morning of rain and traffic, I had just settled into my desk when I noticed the shout out.  With my morning latte in hand, I thought ok, maybe it’s going to be a good day after all. And then a few minutes later I saw an office wide e-mail pop up – “the milk was bad, threw it out”. 

Mmm. Love Mondays.

1. New barstools! After our previous barstool drama, we decided to go with IKEA’s Sebastian stools until we could find something else. Now that they’re assembled and in the space, we actually really like them. However, we are considering having the chrome frames powder coated. Too fussy? Maybe, but it’s worth looking into.

2. We’ve been working on finalizing the design for the open shelving and cabinet panels in the kitchen so we can order the fir plywood. Kyle’s also been working on the design for the living room media console and we’ll share more of what we’re thinking for that space later this week.

3. We’ve also been doing little odds and ends, like spray painting our registers to better match the cork. We highly recommend Rust-Oleum’s camouflage spray paint. That’s right, camo at chezerbey. I raised my eyebrow too, but it was the closest match we could find and the matte brown is actually pretty modern.



4. And even though our to-do list is still ridiculously long, we’ve been playing catch-up on some long overdue tasks, like weeding the yard and deep cleaning the bathroom and bedroom (construction dust had found its way into every nook and cranny). We’ve also brought some furniture up from the basement and finally moved the TV out of the bedroom! For now, the guest/flex room is serving as a TV room, with our big frumpy couch and a TV stand from circa 1997 (not shown for the sake of our pride). I know, it’s a bit anticlimactic to show old furniture and zero decor in our new space, but all in due time, all in due time.

So that’s what we’re up to. We’re now focusing on finishing the kitchen, but with shorter days, crappier weather and back episodes of Dexter to watch, it’s hard to find the motivation in the evenings to work on the house.